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Project Staff



José O. Rivera, Pharm.D.


Dr. José Rivera, principal investigator, was born in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, completing his BS in Pharmacy from the University of Puerto Rico in May of 1976. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Pharmacy Residency Certificate from the University of Kentucky in June of 1979. In the following years he worked in a clinical/academic setting at the University of Cincinnati and later at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He moved to El Paso in 1995 and served as Director of Pharmacy Services at Sierra Medical Center, and later as a Critical Care Pharmacist at R.E. Thomason General Hospital. He was a Clinical Associate Professor with the UTEP Cooperative Pharmacy Program before becoming its director in January of 2001. He is also Assistant Dean of the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin.

Aside from his involvement in academia, Dr. Rivera has extensive clinical experience, having worked in various trauma centers in the U.S. He currently serves on a number of committees, including the Financial Aid, Honors & Awards, Residence, and College Steering Committees at the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the El Paso City/County Board of Health.

Throughout his career, he has presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences in both the pharmacy and medical fields. He has also published a number of articles as a result of his extensive involvement in research. He is currently involved in various clinical research projects with UTEP, the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation, Thomason Hospital, and various drug companies, looking at the use of herbal products and medications on the border as well as issues in critical care and antibiotic therapy.

Dr. Rivera’s present goals include to increase the number of pharmacists graduating from the program, to offer students in El Paso the opportunity to enter the field of pharmacy, and to continue conducting research related to healthcare in the border population.




Armando Gonzalez Stuart, Ph.D.

Grant Coordinator

Armando González-Stuart earned his B.Sc. degree in Agronomics/Animal Science from the Center of Universitarian Studies in Monterrey, Mexico. Traveling throughout that country, he gained first-hand experience in the use of native medicinal herbs employed by Mexican traditional medicine in the treatment of various diseases. He furthered his studies at the post graduate level at the University of Chihuahua, where he engaged in research about “locoweed” (Astragalus wootonii), a leguminous plant that is poisonous to livestock, but also has human medicinal applications in oncology.

From 1992 to the present, he is graduate professor with the Faculty of Animal Science and Ecology (Facultad de Zootecnia), at the University of Chihuahua, where he has undertaken research in toxic and medicinal plants used in Mexican traditional medicine.

Dr. Gonzalez joined the UT El Paso/Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program in November of 2001, as visiting scientist from the University of Chihuahua, Mexico and research coordinator for the Herbal Safety Project, sponsored by the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation. The main objectives of this project are to launch educational and research programs aimed at informing the public about the possible risks and benefits of employing herbal products and other nutritional supplements in the treatment or prevention of various diseases and metabolic dysfunctions.

From 1996-2001, while teaching at the Faculty of Animal Science, he participated in a distance learning research project focused on creating a scientific manual about medicinal plants from Mexico, coupled with detailed information about modern phytotherapy. Upon completion of this work, he was awarded the Doctorate in Philosophy degree in Alternative Medicines, from the Open International University in Calcutta, India.

Dr. Gonzalez has written 3 books, as well as over 120 full - page newspaper articles containing scientific information about toxic plants, medicinal botany, preventive nutrition and the safe use of herbal supplements and nutraceuticals.




José Cruz Rodriguez, CPhT, CCRP.

Research Coordinator

José Cruz Rodriguez’s first experience with research was in 1995, while working as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) at a local, private hospital for 23 years. He participated in the clinical trial for Synecid®, and has since participated in several additional drug clinical trials. He has been conducting herbal research since 1999, and has been actively involved with several publications in some of the major medical journals. His duties as a research coordinator include: conducting formal and informal interviews, from questioning visitors and patients in waiting rooms to actual door to door interviews. He is responsible for data collection and data entry as well as data analysis. He enjoys disseminating project results by creating professional audio-visual and poster presentations.